Hemel Hempstead MP, Sir Mike Penning, has written to the Comptroller and Auditor General to seek an urgent meeting over top NHS bureaucrats’ instruction to the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust to provide three options for hospital redevelopment, all of which centre on redeveloping Watford General.
Sir Mike said:
“This is a hugely complex and bureaucratic process, but the Trust have received a letter from David Williams, Second Permanent Secretary at the Department for Health and Social Care official instructing them to restrict their work to options that can be delivered by 2025. The Department does not believe the new site option could meet that deadline.
“This is total nonsense. It may vary with different sites, but it is pretty obvious that it can be much quicker to build on a new site. Redeveloping an existing site is always fraught with difficulties – just look at the old Civic Centre building in Hemel where part of the building remains after several years due to an active electricity sub-station underneath.
“In Watford’s case, they will need to keep the existing site operational.”
“The Treasury have an instruction – ‘The Green Book’ – that states:
“Starting out with a narrow set of options or a pre-determined solution may miss the opportunity to explore more novel, innovative solutions that might offer better social value.”
“I would suggest that is exactly the case here.
“A new site option would be good value for money, good for the whole community and quicker to build.”